Deadlocked: Battle of Wills
Most significant relationships experience conflict at some point. When you reach a deadlock in your battle of wills, how do you breach the void? How do you influence the other person without damaging the relationship? Do you know when to alter or end the relationship if no solution can be reached?
Joe, your top producing hourly worker consistently breaks company policy by making personal cell phone calls during his shift. It’s creating resentment in the department. Other employees say it’s not fair that “some people get to break the rules.” Management has talked to Joe, but he claims the calls are from his kids and are important. He’s getting his work done, what’s the big deal? Both parties are frustrated, both feeling disrespected, one feeling judged and criticized. They repeat this pattern, over and over again.
Stop the cycle of insanity. Change the approach.
Navigate a deadlock by exploring motivation. It has two types: Intrinsic and Extrinsic.
Extrinsic Motivation is behavior driven by external rewards or punishment.
Don’t risk damaging the relationship by threatening, shaming, or punishing. Instead reward the behavior you want to see. This works as long as you’re willing to offer the reward and the recipient values it.
Could you offer employees an incentive or bonus to leave their cell phones at the supervisor’s desk, in HR, or in their lockers? Would a $50 or $100 gift card for a month of no cell phone usage make the difference? The reward could be anything that the employees value–if they want it badly enough, they’ll be motivated to change.
Intrinsic motivation is the act of doing something without obvious external rewards or punishment, because it is enjoyable or makes you feel good.
Convince the other party your values and beliefs have merit, so they are motivated to embody them just because they’ll feel good doing it. Beware of judgement statements. There’s a fine line between sharing your values and the other person feeling like you’re criticizing theirs.
Try saying, “I know you understand that when one person bends the rules, it creates resentment and frustration in the rest of the department. As one of our best workers, you can help maintain harmony among your peers. I know it’s important to you that everyone gets along and feels part of the team.” You could also offer understanding for the employee’s circumstances and offer options like “If you need to make a call, clock out on a break and do it in the break room or your car,” or “If you have an urgent family matter and need to clock out to take the call, it’s okay to stay late beyond your shift time to finish up,” etc. Effective managers listen to their employees’ needs and make allowances when they can. That creates loyalty.
The Choice is Yours
The approach and the outcome ultimately comes down to the value you place on the relationship and the person. When you’re faced with a battle of wills, ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it that you win this battle? What are you willing to lose in order to win? What are you not willing to lose and how does that impact your approach?
Passionate about growing amazing leaders who create great places to work and lead fulfilling lives, Angela enables transformational change in individuals, teams, and businesses. As a Certified Professional Coach, she is skilled at combining sound coaching skills with proven leadership methodologies to cultivate growth and ultimately, results.